Manage Your Biggest Holiday Challenge—Stress
‘Tis the season to be jolly, so say the sages of old. The holidays are generally a time when family and friends come together and share special moments and celebrate traditions. For many, however, the holidays can be very stressful and lonely.
These personal feelings may be the result of financial stress, loss of a loved one, fatigue, inability to be with one’s family and friends, over-commercialization of the holidays and/or having unrealistic expectations about one’s self or the holiday experience.
Dr. Michelle Harcrow, assistant director of health education and promotion at The University of Alabama, suggests simplicity and realistic expectations to handle the stress associated with the holiday season.
“Something to consider during this time is that there are basically three areas in your life that you can balance– your time, your energy and your money,” says Harcrow. “Although stabilizing these three areas is not a cure-all, it can certainly help to relieve a huge load of holiday hassle and make January a better place to be.”
Shopping, cooking and socializing can make the holidays very stressful. Add a brood of children in tow, and you could turn into a real Scrooge. Keep your holiday spirit and sanity with some simple stress management tips (with kids).
Any shopping list can be long and exhaustive with the kids tagging along, so make a plan. Write down what you want to buy for each person and set a budget to spend. Pick a time when the stores are less busy, and ask a friend or relative to watch them so you can head out alone. If you can’t get a sitter, consider shopping online.
Leading up to the holidays make sure your weekly meal planning consists of some very simple dishes. Reward the family with an evening out once a week to break the routine. They will be thrilled, and it gives you a break from cooking. Write down your shopping list for the big holiday dinner and stick to the list. Don’t overdo it.
As the holidays approach you will probably get bombarded with invitations to social gatherings. Set your priorities and only attend the ones you can schedule without feeling obligated or overwhelmed. Have someone watch the kids if the gathering is for adults-only, but let the kids enjoy family-friendly invitations.
To stay jolly this holiday season, manage stress by making a plan for each day. Set goals that are realistic and manage your time wisely. And remember to set aside time to unwind and relax.